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Glimpses of the Kites festival at BAPS temple

April 2012
Glimpses of the Kites festival at BAPS temple High above the complex of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, hundreds of colorful kites peppered the bright sky. On the front lawns, the radiant laughter of children, racing after their kites, filled the air. Daughters and sons, mothers and fathers all worked to keep their kites in the sky among countless others.

Hundreds of families gathered at the Mandir on March 17, 2012 to celebrate Uttarayan, the first major Hindu festival of the year. Uttarayan, or Makar Sankranti, is an annual kite flying festival that brings together families and friends across Gujarat as well as the world. In Sanskrit, “Uttar” means north and “ayan” means to move in that direction. It is the festival that marks the changing of the sun’s pattern and the end of winter in Indian heritage. The kites and the strings to which they are attached represent mankind’s bond with God, and represent the spiritual journey of aspirants. Traditionally, Uttarayan is held in mid-January, but BAPS Atlanta hosted the festival in March at a time when attendees could enjoy the warm spring weather.

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“I don’t normally fly kites, but I come to this festival every year because my children love it,” said Kunjal Patel, who drove from Charlotte, N.C. to participate in Uttarayan. “I try to teach them both how to fly kites and how the festival itself represents the idea that we should all strive for something higher in our personal and spiritual lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 Website Bonus Feature
Links:
Indian Fighters

Includes videos:
http://helloji.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/kite-flying-tradition-in-india/

Videos:
Part 1 of 4 Indian bamboo/paper fighter kites (and other videos are available)

Book and movie, The Kite Runner



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